Athletic bottoms that stay put
July 13, 2014 1:42 PM   Subscribe

I am a chubby woman who likes to jog and dance. Where can I get athletic pants/shorts that stay up when I move?

In an effort to counteract a recent switch to a desk job, I've taken up jogging and Zumba. I'm starting to fall off the wagon, partially because my pants are falling off of me!

My workout pants/shorts stay in place in the store, and the moment that I start to move vigorously everything starts to jiggle and my pants slide off.

I've tried on a size smaller, and 1) I can't breathe and I worry about getting yeast infections 2)If they are shorts, my thigh fat wreaks havoc on them. Chub rub in loose shorts, forced rolling-up on tighter bicycle style shorts, the works.

Stats: US 12 - 14, 5'3".
Shape: Apple? Cello? Rectangle?
31 Waist
41 Hip

This is me paddleboarding so you get an idea of body shape. I can't wear those shorts jogging/zumba-ing because my thighs rub together.

Similarly shaped people, what do you wear to work out? What do you do to make your pants stay up? Is it a matter of athletic pants/shorts style, or high-riding my pants, or what?

Bonus points if your recommendations are less than $40.
posted by Guess What to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I'm quite a lot larger than you, but here's what I've found is necessary for me:

A waistband with a tie in it.
Full knee length or capris, rather than shorter shorts.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:49 PM on July 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm a big fan of compression leggings from Old Navy. LOVE them. They stay put, are inexpensive, and hold up very well in all my Zumba-ing and jogging endeavors.

I would suggest maybe sizing down, but getting a "Tall" size.

I'm your height, and the petite versions always ride low after some time - do not like. "Regular" is quite good. "Tall" helps by giving a higher rise/length, more comfortable on the mid-section. So maybe try a size Medium-Tall? You can order a bunch online, and return the rest to a store (I've never had a problem returning petite/tall/whatever sizes to an Old Navy store)

I can vouch for these, these, and these. The first ones are my favorite, but they're all great.
posted by raztaj at 1:52 PM on July 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Old Navy is a good resource for inexpensive workout bottoms. I am similarly built and find that their athletic capris (the regular or yoga ones, not the "compression" type) stay put and are reasonably durable. I work out 3-5x/week and I can't hack it with any type of shorts for the same reasons you describe.
posted by little mouth at 1:53 PM on July 13, 2014

I'm smaller than you (2-4) but about the same height and have no thigh gap to speak of and love these for avoiding chub rub and still looking like shorts, not skin hugging like the full on compression things.
posted by sweetkid at 1:59 PM on July 13, 2014 [3 favorites]

I've liked both the Old Navy regular athletic leggings and the compression leggings for running.
posted by pemberkins at 2:06 PM on July 13, 2014

I have similar measurements to you (but taller) and I second getting pants and shorts with a tie in the waist. I have some running shorts and tights from Target that I like, all their C9 brand. The key is avoiding yoga-style pants that don't have a tie in the waist and aren't designed for vigorous moving around and getting bottoms designed for running. I look for a waist that reaches my actual waist and a tie that I can comfortably tie fairly tightly. I also have the best luck with compression-style running tights, staying-up-wise, but I'm not sure if you're comfortable with the skin tight spandex look or if you're looking for something looser. I can't imagine jogging in longer loose pants but YMMV.
posted by MadamM at 2:14 PM on July 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm similarly proportioned and I keep coming back to Under Armour's compression shorts. They're inexpensive and easy to find, they stay put for miles, and they last forever. (Two tips if you get these: first, make sure you get the 7" inseam, since they also come in a 4" inseam which isn't quite as thigh-friendly. Second, if you're between sizes, get the larger size. They should still fit snugly, but they'll be more comfortable and, in my experience, will stay like new for longer.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:14 PM on July 13, 2014

For jogging, I have these They have a stretchy short inside and a loose short outside. I'm similarly shaped to you, and I love these shorts. I tried mine on in a store though, and didn't buy from that website, so if you have a running store nearby I would recommend checking them out.
posted by meringue at 2:16 PM on July 13, 2014

I really like Athleta pants - they are a bit more expensive, but I find them very long-lasting and you can find good sales. Is there an Athleta store near you? Here are some drawstring options. Also, darn you, in looking up Athleta's website I bought some pants there. :)
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 2:19 PM on July 13, 2014

I know you'd like to avoid spending a lot, but maybe try Marshall's, TJ Maxc, etc and look for a more expensive brand and a style made for running. I find it better to size up, not down. Drawstrings (even on fitted bottoms) are great. Definitely avoid generic yoga or workout pants. My best running bottoms are Nike fitted capri-length tights made specifically for running. Trying them on, and jumping up and down in the dressing room, works for me.

Are you near a Nike outlet, perhaps? Or similar?
posted by bluedaisy at 2:36 PM on July 13, 2014

They are not under $40, but I have the same problem as you and think these are the best. I have two pair and have worn them to the gym 5 days a week for 2+ years. Nothing else I've tried (which I swear had to be at least 100 things before before I found these!) even comes close.
posted by mjcon at 3:05 PM on July 13, 2014

Nike Filament Capri is available up through extended sizes.

Truly the best running capri made and I've tried every one. It is my workout/running/walk around the house capri.
posted by 26.2 at 4:09 PM on July 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Re: Marshall's, look for the kyodan brand (weird conspiracy lululemon blogger think they're made in the same factory. Who knows, but they're awesome and $25 bucks), as well as marina balance and mpgsport. All those bottoms are awesome and less than $30. I pay full price for mpgsport (well, not anymore bc Marshall's). My highest priority in workout/running gear is that the pants do not move. And while my old trusty lulu's fulfill this, those other brands are waaaay cheaper and also don't move.
posted by atomicstone at 4:32 PM on July 13, 2014

I'm about your size, and I've had good luck with Costco's Kirkland brand yoga pants (I buy the full-length ones, but they also have a capri version). They are supposedly a knockoff of Lululemon, but much cheaper ($12.97 for the full length ones, and $16.99 for the capris on the website-- and you can buy from the website without being a Costco member, if you pay a small surcharge). The full-length pants come in short sizes also. I've never had problems with chafing/rubbing/ pants falling down, and I've been working out in these for over a year.
posted by rhymeswithcheery at 7:02 PM on July 13, 2014

Hi! I am taller than you but my waist/hip measurements are the same and I have the same issue with exercise pants falling down on me. The Perfect Core line of pants from Lucy have been a game-changer for me. The waist is a little higher than other pants which seems to keep them right above my waistline, which I've found helps to keep them in place. The compression in the belly area keeps my booze gut from pulling the waistband down, as well. And they are SUPER cute in person. I have probably 6 pairs at this point and I keep buying them whenever I find a pair on sale in a cute pattern/color combo.
posted by joan_holloway at 7:58 PM on July 13, 2014

Are the pants you're choosing tight all the way down or are they tight to mid-thigh then loose? I am also rectangular-shaped and I had the same problem when I first started jogging - pants that were comfy in the store were halfway down my but by mile 0.5.

I find I have to wear pants that are tight or at least very closely fitted all the way down. If they have any extra fabric they just pull themselves right off. They don't have to be very tight at any one point but they can't be loose anywhere, if that makes sense. I mostly get mine at Marshalls/T.J.Maxx. I have to try on a lot of pants to find one that's tight without getting all up in my business.
posted by mskyle at 6:57 AM on July 14, 2014

Are you against yoga/running tights? You can get cropped ones so they aren't too hot. Most of them have a wide waistband so no fat rolls and they stay on, if you get the right size. It's a bit out of your price range but I HIGHLY recommend Athleta (owned by Gap). They have a 365-day give-it-a-workout return policy.
posted by Brittanie at 10:31 AM on July 15, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I ended up going with these from Target in an XL. They're fitted, and have a draw-string waistband! I went jogging in them today, and hark! my pants stayed up! Some of the pants on the store rack did not have draw strings, maybe I got an older/newer model.

Small caveat: These pants cause a little discomfort because they rubbed my labia in an unfortunate way. Could've been wearing the wrong style of underwear.
posted by Guess What at 5:18 PM on July 20, 2014

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